I don’t understand

7/10/16     11:12pm

Friends” on the tv. Ellie asleep on the couch next to me. Phone dinging intermittently…

I don’t understand. I don’t understand.

Yesterday I was unable to move or get out of bed until after 5pm. Zoe laid with me. I tried to write. I did get up one time. When my mom came home I tried to keep it from her as best I could. All my energy I used to get to the bathroom and take a shower with my shower chair that I promptly dried off and hid since she hates that I have it. I wanted to catch up on work all day. I guess it’s not in the plan.

Today I woke up with energy and surrounded by the Holy Spirit. God put a grieving widow next to me in church to comfort as she melted down. I ate chicken with my mom and when I came home to start working on the computer I saw a Facebook post from Chuck. My brother died today. Everything stopped. I posted a few pics and the news, then broke down sobbing. I don’t understand. I wanted to leave but there was nowhere to go. I went to my room, curled up on the floor, tried to read “Stellaluna” unsuccessfully. I couldn’t breathe. I slept all afternoon on my bed.

I don’t understand. Everyone’s dying. Last week Fatima and Ron. This Wednesday is Ron’s funeral. Today it’s Courtney. He’s my brother.

The people on Facebook say they’re sorry for my loss. I’m not sure why that phrase is so prevalent around death. I met my brother twice, dreamed of him for years. He had HD like my dad – the only one of us that got it. Mark met him with me once. All he wanted was death. I couldn’t help him. He refused treatment. And he lived far away. For awhile he called a LOT in the middle of the night. I haven’t heard from him in awhile. He crosses my mind but I haven’t called.

I called his step-dad Chuck to see what happened. “He wasted away,” he said. “The disease took it’s toll.” I don’t believe that. He said, “I’m glad he’s gone. He was miserable… He knew it was pretty close.” I guess Courtney hadn’t eaten in 2-3 weeks and refused care or hospice. He even stopped smoking, which was his thing, and going to the corner store. He laid on the floor by the door of his 5th wheel. He was constantly cold, died in a hoodie and snow jacket in the middle of summer. Chuck said he was, “gettin’ a little bit fantasy,” meaning he was talking about things that never happened like fires and earthquakes. Courtney was against medical treatment, IVs, feeding tubes, etc. There will be no service. He said, “Cremate me and throw me away.”

I don’t know what to do. My body barely moves. I really needed to work today, was looking forward to having time to catch up on life. But instead I slept, and when I think not a whole lot is there. I stare, stop moving. My world is cold.

Last week there were group crises. My level of functioning was such that I spent many hours staring. I even cried a few times. (staring…) I don’t understand.

Mom: Are you okay?
Me: No
Mom: Why are you not okay?
Me: Well, people are dying all around me, I can’t keep up with my work, my body’s trying to kill me and, consequently, I can’t think.
Mom: Well, people usually die in threes so no one else will die for awhile.

What the fuck? There is no magic voodoo number on crises. They are not limited to sets of 3.

I can’t do this. I see Dr. H in the morning. I don’t even know what to tell her. Why does it bother me so much that my brother is dead? I couldn’t help him. (stare)

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Courtney & Michelle 1/2016

© Michelle Routhieaux 2016

Me

(Note – Yes, I am safe.)
1-6-13     6:30pm

Just got home from RENT. I went with Taylor. Cried through most of it. Exhausted now.

I miss Brandon. I miss my theater family. I miss being me. All of the goodness that I am now isn’t ME.  I miss Sarah and Mr. B, knowing I had a role, a purpose. All of that was taken from me.

It’s something we never talk about in therapy. We talk about sense of self. We don’t talk about me. Is it too late to get her back? Is she gone forever? Is the opportunity gone for me to be me? I so desperately need me.

Please.

healing card - therapyI pulled a healing card today that says this, “It’s important not to get stuck in therapy. Therapy is a necessary boat that takes you across a rough river to a new shore. In time, though, you must step out of the boat and onto new earth and never look back.” There is a passage with it about not carrying the raft forever and being wary of letting supports be a substitute for life.

I don’t understand. Illness took me. Therapy took my life. Therapy forced illness to cough part of me up and became my life. I can’t get the real me back. If I let go of groups and therapy I have nothing.

I wish someone had warned me, told me, “Don’t let go! Not for anything.” But they didn’t. They were living. Now I am scared to breathe.

A little girl wants me to teach her to dance. I’m terrified. Please don’t touch me. You don’t understand.

Who am I?

I am a little girl.
I am a friend.
I am a dancer.
I am an artist.
I am a patient.
I am a child of God.
I am me.
I am not what I feel.

(“I’ll Cover You”)

I want to scream out, “PLEASE HELP ME! Someone’s taken my soul!” But no one’s there to listen, only hear.

If I can’t be who I was, I don’t want to live at all.

You couldn’t tolerate the stress of who you were.

I can’t tolerate the stress of now.

Touche.
Take your AZT.

I think if I got into a show it would bring me back. I would find me again. I NEED me.

Me is dead. She is gone.

No she’s not! I saw her last week.

Elvis has left the building.

My head hurts.
I want to die.

I know.
Do you honestly think in your state of mind you could do it?

I’ve done it before.

But not with the physical ailments.

True.
What am I supposed to do?
I can’t do this anymore.

Sing, take drugs & teach.
Work your way up.
Peanuts to packing peanuts.

Fuck that.
When do we start?

I want to die.

I know.
I’m tired.

Triggers

Theater
RENT memories
B- memories
USC memories
shame about my life
missing Sarah
believing I can never have me back

Vulnerability Factors

Janet’s death
pre-existing severe depression
exhaustion
allergies/infection
headaches
holidays

Thankful Taylor is texting me. Need to take – and -.
Make a plan, Michelle. You can do this.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

Breathing

the girls 201012-29-12     10:31pm

It hurts to breathe…

The air in me is hollow.

My brain laments with grief.

My head hurts. I just got home from Denny’s – a gathering of distraught friends. I took tissues & Play-Doh and ate plastic cheesecake. I am not okay.

I am not okay.

I feel God holding me, thankfully. Mom’s on the phone with Don. I don’t care. I am stoic with small bouts of tears. I need to talk to someone who’s not in it. I need to let go.

I hear “I Need You Now” by Plumb.

Armando said I look very calm. I’m about to implode. All my cells are on high alert. My head hurts. I don’t move much. I’m not hungry. I stare. I can’t tolerate noise or stress. I just want to be.

I was the last person who saw Janet. I shared her last meal. I had that privilege. And I am in pain. And all the questions are coming up. The what did she say and why didn’t you see the signs and did you knows. I didn’t do anything wrong.

I can still feel her hug.

How many times have you heard me cry out?
How many times have You given me strength?

I made arrangements. Let everyone know. Am answering texts night and day. Planning a memorial. Secured a minister. Set up a therapy group. Sat with Chrissy. Breathed.

It hurts to breathe.
It hurts to be.

I took a shower today.
This is how I deal with crisis.
I shut down. It is absorbed into my body, the fabric of my being and it doesn’t exist. I cry alone. I sing. I breathe.

Janet is dead.
It hurts to breathe.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2012

I am not me

12/2/12     1:24am

I had a really hard day today. So hard I can barely write. Physical pain, funeral, ton of triggers. Nurse from my past, comparison to childhood friends, too much noise at music, people flirting with me, disaster at the end.

Please, I just want to be free. No one in my life but my mom now knows the real me. ME. I’m in here. Please. I’m not a “loyal jazz fan.” I’m a girl. A human. Someone who once was great, who is deeply pained now just to watch. It hurts to be alive some days. It hurts to be alive.

Photographer                    Actor                    Teacher
Dancer                                Writer                  Fundraiser
Singer                                 Speaker                Organizer
Idea-maker                       Tutor                    Traveler
Lover of Life

I was these things.
I was good.
Now I see myself as darkness and pain. Still. A motionless watcher. Shell of a soul. My core is still there but my body refuse. The worst part is that I know. I know what I am not doing, who I have become. And no matter how awesome others see it, it’s not me. I am not me.

When my mom picked me up after jazz tonight I just started crying. I was so upset – not at any person but circumstance. There was confusion over plans. I am not able to be spontaneous. I don’t drive. I plan my rides and they take a long time. Tonight there was a last minute switch and I didn’t get to go. I felt trapped, gypped. I can’t get out.

M- asked the other night why I don’t drive. I couldn’t explain it all. (crying) I failed at life. I feel ashamed & guilty & embarrassed. He called me out. I can’t take care of myself. I try to keep that a secret. I want to drive. I just can’t do it right now.

I want so much to be free. Not to feel lonely. To be independent. But tonight I hide & cry. I am not me.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2012

Happy People

12-21-11     10pm

Seeing happy people makes me really sad.

I sang at Sea World today. Major stress getting everything organized but the singing part was fun. Now I’m crashing – exhausted and sad.

There is a person who works the event that I really like. He is gay and taken, but I like him anyway. He has such a warm energy. I just watch him and I dream. Lately I feel very homely. I’m not sure if that’s the right word. I’m getting old. My life time is kicking in. I want to settle down. I want a partner. I want a family. I want to feel warm and safe, not as a child but a me. And when I see people like this guy, I wish I had one just like him in my life.

(Breathing…) But, I am me.
For some reason that cannot be. I don’t understand and I feel angry. And I eat more Chinese food. Then I just feel sad… So sad. That sad where everything is quiet and the tears don’t roll down my face. Even bad people have families. Why not me?

Happy people make me sad.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2011

Who am I?

7-29-10                10:33pm

I ran into an old friend at the show tonight who told her friend I’m a great dancer, “like dance dance,” and said we should go dancing sometime. I said I’m better at choreography than freestyle, social dancing. I should’ve just said thank you, but these days dancing makes me nervous. It has me wondering who I am. I haven’t answered that question in some time.

Who am I?

I am a person who’s been here for 23 years, sometimes a girl, sometimes a woman. No, 24. I am often lonely. I am here to help others.

I am not who I used to be or who I will be in the future. Today I can’t say that I have a purpose. I am thrown around in the tide. I should let go.

I am sad. I am affected by other people, more than they could know. I am a person who is so sad that her dreams are gone and who cries at night.

I got an email announcing Rockette auditions today. The first kid in line for rush is moving to New York for the dream. My friends are making it. I’m just idling. Party cuz I’ve stopped believing, partly because it’s physically and mentally too taxing. I can’t handle it. I KNOW I wanted nothing more than to be successful in performance. It’s what makes me truly happy. It’s who I am down to my core. A person who dances to all emotions and hears music constantly, who sings and recites lines randomly, who has no idea who she is without these. It’s like Susan’s poem. Who is a dancer without the dance? I don’t know.

The show was incredible tonight and I felt happy. But that small reminder of what I am now has me fighting back tears on the trolley.

The things I hear in my head: I am nothing. You have failed. Street team? Are you kidding me? You’re a fucking joke. You may have a fancy title and a glossy business card, but you’ll never be more than a crazy person playing pretend. They’ll find out, and they’ll leave you, and you’ll have nothing. They’ll leave anyway. You, are nothing. Actor, always remember you are replaceable. I know.

No matter how much I work on loving myself, how many hours of therapy, positive affirmations, “friends” on FB… the number of hours I feel happy to be alive, I come back to the reality (my reality) that I am nothing.

Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Me feeling helpless giving everything to God. But I can’t imagine that’s what he wanted. For the default state of His people to be suffering. I try really hard. I do good things and I help people and pray…

But I am still sick. And I am still sad. I still have no money and my family is approaching crisis. And I can’t go to the dance convention in a few weeks. And I can’t breathe. And I don’t want to be here anymore. Drama at my group, in my inbox, in the mail. Now even in the place where I go to escape. There is no escape. Don’t know why I keep running.

I don’t know who I am. I just know how I feel. Confused. Tired. Sad. My body hurts. At times I feel happy, joyous, angry, anxious, befuddled, undone. I am simply the canvas to their art.

I once was the star attraction, the main event. Now I am the crew. Cellophane. Eject please.

I thought about killing myself tonight but I don’t have the energy to recover.

7-30-10                6:37pm

Part 2

Today I am sick but right now I feel happy. I am a person with unpredictable illnesses doing my best to get by and enjoy life. Yes. That’s an answer I like.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010